Now that you’ve learned what you’ll need in order to change your tractors oil here (PREVIOUS BLOG LINK), identified your tractor’s specifications and gathered the supplies you need let’s dive into what comes next.
Step 5: Reinstall the Oil Filter
Once back on the farm, you’ll reinstall the oil filter as it came apart, coating all O-rings or rubber gaskets with fresh oil first. Some motors—usually diesel motors with large, vertically installed filters—call for “priming” the oil filter before reinstalling: This simply means filling the filter assembly with new oil before it goes back on.
Thread spin-on filters by hand until they seat against the motor, then give another quarter to half turn until nice and snug. The filter needs to be tight but not wrenched on. Heat from motor use will expand the assembly and tighten the seal over time, and if it’s wrenched on from the beginning, it will be a bear to remove at the next oil change.
Reassemble the cartridge filters unit as it came apart, then bolt the assembly back on, keeping the bolt(s) snug but, again, not hammered on. If you have a torque wrench and a service manual with torque specs, now’s a great time to use them. If not, a good rule of thumb is to seat the bolt well, then add about one-eighth of a turn.
Step 6: Tighten the Drain Plug
With the filter installed, fix your new crush washer or O-ring on the drain plug and thread it in by hand until it seats. Again, tighten it down either by torque spec (recommended) or by the same rule of thumb used with the filter bolts. No matter how you finally tighten the plug, I would insist on starting it—or any threaded fastener—by hand to prevent cross-threading, which ruins both male and female bolt threads, and often seems to be the main culprit of oil change complications and headaches.
Step 7: Dispose of Old Oil
Once the filter and plug are installed and tight, wipe down and degrease your work surfaces. Remove your drain pans, emptying the used oil into a safe and adequate container to be recycled. Most service shops will accept your used oil for recycling, as long as your containers are safe and the amounts are reasonable.
Step 8: Refill with New Oil
Locate your oil fill, which is usually near your tractor’s oil level check dipstick and is sometimes the same. Using a funnel, fill the motor with the specified type, weight and amount of oil (for example: 5 quarts of Rotella 15W40 diesel oil), taking note of whether the amount includes the oil held by the filter. Tighten the oil fill cap and/or dipstick.
Step 9: Check for Leaks
With the transmission in neutral and the parking brake on, start and run the tractor at idle for at least 30 seconds, visually checking for leaks around the oil filter and drain plug. After confirming no leaks, shut down the motor and wait a few minutes, then check the oil level on the dipstick. If your specs are right, the level should be right on or at least close, though you might need to add or remove a small amount. When the level on the dipstick is correct, your oil change is done.
Although the first time or two may take a while, oil changes will become quick and easy as you do them more often. With oil changes under your belt, you might decide to try your hand at larger maintenance projects, keeping that tractor running smoothly for many years to come.